Most Home Inspectors are out to do the best job they can. I think a Home Inspection is one of the best investments one can make when owning a home. But as utility prices rise and consumers are getting more concerned about wasting energy does the Home Inspector address much of this. They do to a point, The inspector comments on insulation and ventilation of the structure. But there can be more to it and that's where the building science training kicks in.
I’m a Home Inspector and a Energy Auditor in the Reno area. I spend allot of time on education and looking at houses. Standards change over time. The days of drafty poorly insulated houses are a thing of the past. Buyers are not willing to spend tons of extra money each month to heat a home. People want a more comfortable and efficient home.
I usually say any house built before 2000 is a good candidate for an Energy Audit and retrofit.
During a recent Home Inspection I found a couple of large attic chases that are doing nothing except wasting money in energy. Typically this is not something thought of as a defect during a Home Inspection. Chases are used to bring plumbing, electrical, and duct up to other floors. Chases are also bring hot and cold air in and out of the house. They are like having a open chimney. They are something I point out every time I see them. They require sealing and insulating.
The other area of concern in the Reno area is crawlspaces. They can be an area of huge energy loss. With duct work down there it’s an even worse situation. Crawlspace ventilation is something that has been called out in many a inspection report. Usually the recommendation is to add more ventilation to help keep the moisture from getting into the home. As an Energy Auditor I see the need to have a layer of properly sealed plastic under the house to stop moisture and soil gasses. With this the need for ventilation is no longer. With no cold air blowing through the foundation the walls can be insulated to keep the heat in. Often known as conditioning the crawlspace, you now have made it part of the home and not a cold, damp, and dingy energy waster. This is something I often bring up after my Home Inspection.
The Energy side of things is pretty new to Reno. There are several parts of the country where people have realized the benefits of using building science and the whole house as a system approach to make older homes more efficient, comfortable, durable, and healthier.
When in need of a Home Inspection, Energy Audit or both in the Reno area give me a call.